What qualities do you look for when building successful partnerships?

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Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
Being really truthful is what I've found helpful. A lot of customers actually appreciate it because it's not sales, or marketecture. Everyone's time is valuable and important, so you have to show you're a true partner.
Now that I’m on the vendor side, it's all about trying to build that trust and aligning with the customers. The reason why a customer reaches out to us to become a partner is because they probably either do not have the current skill set or feature set that they're looking for, or they don't want to reinvent the wheel, so they're outsourcing it. You need to be very conscious and cognizant of that. Put the customer at the center of it by saying, "This is what we can do for you. We're not going to promise the moon." There are a lot of things that our technology probably cannot and should not do, but this is what we can do.
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Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed

With partnerships, no matter what it is, it's all down to earning trust. Really good partners earn your trust and when they do, that's where the magic can happen. And it's few and far between that I've had that experience.

Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
When I was at eBay, what I appreciated about the NetApp team as a partner was their transparency in terms of their product roadmap. They gave us visibility into its direction a few years out so that we could actually think about the major investments that we needed to do, whereas most organizations wouldn't even offer that. These traits go a long way towards developing trust and really cementing a partnership.
Partner in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I believe that you don't want to build up partnerships, it has to be authentic. I've spoken at customer conferences for companies, but they benefited by having the voice of the customer present because that aided their effort. That had a definite contribution to the renewal conversation. In cases where it didn’t, it was because that partnership did not reflect.

Our head of procurement at a number of companies reiterated feedback to some of the partners, which was, "This does not reflect the partnership that we think we have built." That message reverberated from the AE, right up to the VP of sales, which actually did cause them to take a step back and say, "We have our numbers, but there's no metric here for partnership and customer value. Yousuf and his team have stepped up and this company has stepped up for us in time. And that needs to be reflected." Getting indicators of that dynamic early is important.
CEO in Finance (non-banking), 2 - 10 employees
This is a easy one trust and competence these are 2 core building blocks for relationship building. 
VP of Sales in Software, 10,001+ employees
Communication skills are critical. The ability to be transparent, candid and to over-communicate become critical to not only building but also maintaining successful partnerships.
Head of Business Development in Software, 11 - 50 employees
From my perspective there are many individual parameter. However, the subsequent aspects came to me again and again.

When discussing a potential partnership, clear and transparent communication helps you to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. 

Be clear, that you share the same goals and values both parties can agree on. This ensures that both parties are working towards the same end goal.


Partnerships should be built on the premise that both parties bring different strengths to the table. Each partner should be able to contribute their unique skills and knowledge to the partnership.

Both partners should demostrate high level of committment. Especially in the early days this will drive your cooperation. 

At the same time the ability to compromise is what makes the partnership work. This means being open to new ideas and suggestions and adapting to changes as needed.

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